Astrakhan is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on the left bank of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of 28 meters (92 ft) below sea level.
Population: 520,339 (2010 Census); 504,501 (2002 Census); 509,210 (1989 Census).
Astrakhan is the administrative center of the oblast.Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as the city of oblast significance of Astrakhanâ€”an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the city of oblast significance of Astrakhan is incorporated as Astrakhan Urban Okrug.
Astrakhan features a temperate continental "Aralian" semi-arid climate with cold winters and hot summers. Astrakhan is one of the driest cities in Europe. Rainfall is scarce but relatively evenly distributed throughout the course of the year with however more precipitation (58%) in the hot season (6 hottest months of the year) which determines the "Aralian" type (as opposed to the "Turkmenon" type with the wet season during the cold months).
It`s this even distribution of rainfall and the relatively low annual temperature that causes the city to fall under this climate category as opposed to an arid climate.
Winters tend to be cold in the city, though by Russian standards, Astrakhan features relatively balmy winters. Summers in the city can be hot with high temperatures in excess of 40Â°C. The mean annual temperature amplitude (difference between the mean monthly temperatures of the hottest and coldest months) is thus equal to 29.2Â°C (= 25.6 in July - (-3.6 in January)), so the climate is truly continental (amplitudes superior or equal to 21Â°C determines continental climates, while in semi-continental climates amplitudes vary between 18Â°C and 21Â°C). Spring and fall are basically transitional seasons between summer and winter.